Here’s Who Made Gartner’s Magic Quadrant For Cloud Infrastructure And Platform Services

Here’s a look at the seven IaaS and PaaS cloud providers included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services report.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google—the cloud computing industry’s top three players in order—have ranked as leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services.

The major differences between the seven cloud providers in the report is “below the surface,” at the architecture, implementation and operations levels, according to Gartner.

“The resiliency characteristics afforded to clients varies widely by provider,” Gartner analysts wrote in the report. “Major outages plagued several cloud providers in this Magic Quadrant over the past year. In some cases, providers offered few capabilities to work around provider-oriented failure using accepted, modern means such as availability zones. Strategic cloud provider selection necessitates that enterprises consider the failure scenarios by workload and architect to manage them. In some regions, with several providers in this Magic Quadrant, the challenge of working around provider-oriented failure is insurmountable.”

Alibaba Cloud secured “Visionary” status in the report, while Gartner tabbed Oracle, Tencent Cloud and IBM as ”Niche Players.”

More than 90 percent of the consolidating global market for cloud infrastructure and platform services is claimed by four cloud providers—AWS and Microsoft followed by Alibaba and Google—and there’s no sign consolidation is slowing, according to Gartner.

AWS and Microsoft continue to dominate in much of North America and Europe, while Alibaba is the leader in China and considered a strong competitor in countries where China has influence.

“However, the era of the Chinese service provider is just beginning,” the Gartner report stated. “[China-based] providers such as Alibaba Cloud, Tencent, Huawei and Kingsoft are showing keen interest in competing, not just regionally within Asia, but also in far-from-home regions such as Latin America, where the Chinese providers face a less hostile reception than in the Western world.”

Here’s a look at the seven IaaS and PaaS cloud providers included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services report, including some of their key strengths and weaknesses. First, CRN looks at Gartner’s methodology behind the report.

Gartner Methodology

Gartner defines the cloud infrastructure and platform services (CIPS) market as standardized, highly automated offerings in which infrastructure resources such as compute, networking and storage are complemented by integrated platform services that include managed application, database and functions as-a-service offerings. The Magic Quadrant for CIPS’ scope includes Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and integrated Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings.

To qualify for inclusion, cloud providers must sell public cloud IaaS as a stand-alone service, without requiring customers to use any managed services or to bundle it with managed hosting, application development, application maintenance or other forms of outsourcing. They may also sell a private or hybrid offering that uses the same architecture, but is single-tenant.

At least one of their public cloud IaaS offerings must meet certain criteria. If the offering has been generally available for more than three years, it must have generated at least $1 billion in 2020 public cloud IaaS and PaaS revenue, excluding partner-operated and/or distributed/hybrid/private cloud infrastructure deployed outside its data centers, excluding managed and professional services. A minimum of $250 million of the CIPS contract revenue must come from outside the country where more than half of their data centers are located. If the provider’s offering has been generally available for less than three years, it must have generated at least $500 million in 2020 revenue, excluding managed and professional services, and demonstrated a growth rate of at least 50 percent exiting 2020.

Evaluation criteria include ability to execute and completeness of vision as of July 2021.

Gartner defines Magic Quadrant “Leaders” as those distinguishing themselves by offering a service suitable for strategic adoption and having an ambitious road map, an appreciable market share and many referenceable customers. ”Visionaries” have an ambitious future vision and are making significant investments in the development of unique technologies. Their services still are emerging, and many of their capabilities are in development and not yet generally available. They also might not yet serve a broad range of use cases well, or they may have limited geographic reach. “Niche Players” may be excellent providers for particular use cases or regions, but are considered specialists that don’t cater to a broad range of use cases well or don’t have a broadly ambitious road map. While they may have staked leadership positions in markets adjacent to the CIPS market, they have developed only limited CIPS capabilities.

Leader : Amazon Web Services

Industry leader AWS, which marks its 15th anniversary this year with a $59.2 billion annualized revenue run rate, led Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services with the highest ability to execute and completeness of vision. Gartner cited its broad-based focus on services from handling mission-critical workloads to edge computing.

“AWS’ future focus is on attempting to own increasingly larger portions of the supply chain used to deliver cloud services to customers,” Gartner said. “Its operations are geographically diversified, and its clients tend to be early stage startups to large enterprises.

Strengths: AWS’ engineering prowess and supply chain advantages allow innovations such as the chips that it designs and builds. It outperforms the market with its large financial commitments from enterprises.

Leader: Microsoft

Microsoft is strong in all use cases, extending to edge computing, according to Gartner. Its Azure platform, which has the second largest share of the public cloud market, is well-suited for Microsoft-centric organizations, particularly midsize and large enterprises. Microsoft is investing in architectural improvements for the platform and in enterprise services.

Strengths: Microsoft has the broadest enterprise IT capabilities, from SaaS to PaaS and IaaS, and “compelling” capabilities that span developer tooling (Visual Studio and GitHub) to public cloud services, Gartner said. And Microsoft’s longstanding enterprise work engenders trust that boosts Azure’s use.

Cautions: Many Gartner clients cited concerns about Microsoft’s resiliency and availability of critical services, despite Microsoft’s efforts to improve with services such as Azure Active Directory. Microsoft has “very complex” licensing and contracting, and ”sales pressures to grow overall account revenue prevent it from effectively deploying Azure to bring down a customer’s total Microsoft costs.”

Leader: Google

Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the No. 3 public cloud, is strong in almost all use cases, and its edge capabilities are slowly improving, according to Gartner.

Google Cloud is focused on being a broad-based IaaS and PaaS provider by expanding its offerings and go-to-market operations. It’s also geographically diversified.

Strengths: GCP posted “impressive” revenue growth in the past year, despite financial losses, winning business for its core data and analytics strengths, as well as traditional enterprise workloads such as SAP. GCP has steady adoption growth among enterprises and “lands at the top of survey results when infrastructure leaders are asked about strategic cloud provider selection in the next few years,” Gartner said. It’s closing meaningful gaps with AWS and Microsoft Azure for cloud infrastructure and platform services, in some cases eclipsing them.

Cautions: Some Gartner clients referred to poor experiences dealing with Google Cloud after signing on, with much of it tied to GCP’s rapid growth and resulting “organizational immaturity.” Its aggressive competitive pricing is winning customers, but likely will wane with growth.

Visionary: Alibaba Cloud

Gartner evaluated Alibaba Cloud’s Singapore-based international business and service, calling it a good fit for cloud-first, digital business workloads for customers based in China and Southeast Asia who need ecosystem support or cloud infrastructure in China. Alibaba Cloud is training its sights on expansion in Asia and database PaaS innovation.

Strengths: Alibaba Cloud leads in market share and cloud capabilities in China and surrounding countries, and it’s expected to be the regional favorite in emerging cloud markets, including Indonesia and Malaysia. Enterprises often view Alibaba Cloud as a pathway to digital transformation and e-commerce capabilities due to its parent company. This is based on Alibaba Cloud’s big data and analytics capabilities and its parent company’s e-commerce strength.

Cautions: Alibaba Cloud’s market share is predominantly in China, with customers that have headquarters in China or global businesses that require a local Chinese presence, according to Gartner. The provider is “unlikely to meaningfully penetrate” markets outside its home region, it said.

Niche Player: Oracle

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) primarily is focused on lift-and-shift, high-performance computing and hybrid workloads, though Oracle endeavors to broaden its platform’s capabilities outside Oracle-focused applications, according to Gartner. The company is focused on expanding its geographic reach with capabilities that are competitive with its more established peers.

Strengths: Oracle’s innovation pace has narrowed the gap for hyperscale cloud capabilities between it and market leaders, according to Gartner, and its focus on distributed cloud is unique.

Cautions: Many of Oracle’s capabilities are new and immature, and the company continues to have a "polarizing presence," in particular among software developers and independent software vendors who don’t see it as a neutral company. “Most Gartner clients consider OCI mainly for lift and shift of Oracle-centric workloads rather than as a general-purpose provider for all workloads, despite OCI being capable of such,” Gartner said.

Niche Player: Tencent Cloud

Tencent Cloud primarily is focused on China, multinationals in China or Chinese multinationals expanding overseas. It’s investing in network capabilities to support low latencies necessary for gaming workloads, Gartner said.

Strengths: Tencent Cloud’s strengths include enabling digital transformations of social networking, digital marketing and gaming companies. It’s made impactful hybrid-cloud deployments with top financial services clients in China and has resources to invest billions of dollars in a wide range of capabilities, from IaaS to artificial intelligence to distributed cloud. It’s also the sole hyperscale cloud provider with a region in Russia and core infrastructure capabilities there.

Cautions: Two-thirds of Tencent Cloud’s cloud regions have just one availability zone, and there are notable gaps between its China-focused and international regions, where many of its key capabilities such as DevOps tooling and edge computing are not available. Certain security services are only offered in its Hong Kong region, Gartner said.

Niche Player: IBM

IBM Cloud’s operations are geographically diversified and focus primarily on lift-and-shift and extended enterprise use cases, according to Gartner. It’s focusing on investments including hybrid cloud, regulated workloads and industry-focused cloud services.

Strengths: IBM’s spinoff of its managed IT services business into a separate company—Kyndryl—will allow it to focus on higher-margin businesses such as IBM Cloud, which is doubling down on regulated workloads and industries. It has demonstrated innovation in edge computing.

Cautions: IBM still lags behind competitors in market share and cloud infrastructure and platform services capabilities. “Gartner clients view IBM as a provider of legacy technologies, and it is not often a consideration among shortlisted cloud providers as a result,“ Gartner said.